NBA

NBA Western Conference playoff picture: Warriors back above play-in line, control own destiny for No. 5 seed

stephen curry usatsi



stephen curry usatsi

Down eight with under two minutes to play, the Golden State Warriors roared back for a huge win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak and vault back above the play-in line in the Western Conference playoff race. 

Below is a comprehensive snapshot of where things stand in the Western Conference playoff and play-in races entering play on Sunday This post will update daily throughout the remainder of the regular season, or until all seeds are clinched. 

Reminder on how the play-in tournament works: No. 7 plays No. 8 and No. 9 plays No. 10. The winner of the 7-8 game gets the No. 7 seed, while the loser plays the winner of the 9-10 game for the  No. 8 seed. 

READ: Eastern Conference playoff picture

NOTE: Our SportsLine model, developed by predictive data engineer Stephen Oh, simulates the entire season 10,000 times to produce the most unbiased and precise projections imaginable.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

The Nuggets have lost two straight but would have to go in the absolute tank to blow the No. 1 seed. With 15 games to play, they lead the No. 2 Kings by five games in the loss column and hold an effective six-game lead over the No. 3 Grizzlies with the tiebreaker secured. 

  • Projected seed:¬†1
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†TBD
  • Tiebreaker vs. Memphis:¬†Denver has clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento:¬†Season series tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix: Denver leads season series 2-0 with two to play

2. Sacramento Kings (40-26)

Sacramento, which has won 10 of its past 13 after beating Phoenix on Saturday, holds the No. 2 seed by virtue of currently owning the tiebreaker over Memphis. The Kings now have a four-loss lead over the No. 4 Suns with one head-to-head matchup remaining. 

  • Projected seed: 3
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. Timberwolves-Mavericks play-in winner
  • Tiebreaker vs. Denver:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Memphis:¬†Kings currently own via conference win percentage¬†
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix:¬†Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State:¬†Warriors¬†lead 2-1 with one to play

3. Memphis Grizzlies (40-26)

Memphis remains tied with the No. 2 Kings and moves to four up in the loss column on the No. 4 Suns.

  • Projected seed: 2
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. Warriors
  • Tiebreaker vs. Denver:¬†Nuggets have clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento:¬†Kings currently own via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix:¬†Grizzlies own via division leader

4. Phoenix Suns (37-30)

The Suns fell four losses back of No. 2 Sacramento and No. 3 Memphis with their loss to the Kings on Saturday. Phoenix holds a three-loss lead over the No. 5 Clippers and No. 6 Warriors. With 15 games to play, it’s starting to feel like Phoenix is pretty locked into the 4-seed.¬†

  • Projected seed: 4
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. Clippers
  • Tiebreaker vs. Memphis:¬†Grizzlies own via division leader
  • Tiebreaker vs. Sacramento: Phoenix leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State:¬†Suns have clinched¬†
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas: Suns currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Suns lead 2-1 with one to play

5. Los Angeles Clippers (36-33)

The Clippers are tied in the loss column with the No. 6 Warriors with one matchup remaining. They are just one loss up on the 7-9 seeds. 

  • Projected seed:¬†5
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†at Suns
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix:¬†Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State:¬†Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves:¬†Wolves clinched¬†
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas:¬†Mavericks currently own via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Pelicans lead 1-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Jazz clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Clippers clinched

6. Golden State Warriors (35-33)

The Warriors jumped back above the play-in line with their win over the Bucks on Saturday. They are tied in the loss column with the No. 5 Clippers and have the tiebreaker secured, meaning they control their own destiny for the 5-seed. But do they want it? It will probably mean a first-round matchup with the Suns. 

  • Projected seed:¬†6
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†at Grizzlies
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix:¬†Suns have clinched¬†
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves:¬†Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers:¬†Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Pelicans¬†lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Warriors clinched

Play-In Tournament

7. Minnesota Timberwolves (34-34)

Minnesota falls below the play-in line by virtue of Golden State’s win. They are tied in the loss column with the No. 8 Mavericks and No. 9 Lakers.¬†

  • Projected seed:¬†8
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†vs. Mavericks (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix:¬†Suns lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State:¬†Warriors lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas:¬†Wolves clinched¬†
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers:¬†Wolves clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Wolves currently own via division record
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Wolves clinched

8. Dallas Mavericks (34-34)

In their quest to climb above the play-in line, Dallas is one back of the No. 5 Clippers with the tiebreaker currently in their favor, and one back of the No. 6 Warriors with one head-to-head matchup remaining. 

  • Projected seed:¬†7
  • Current first-round matchup:¬†at Timberwolves (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Phoenix:¬†Suns owns via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves:¬†Wolves clinched¬†
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers:¬†Dallas currently owns via conference record
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Dallas leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Dallas leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Dallas leads 2-1 with one to play

9. Los Angeles Lakers (33-34)

The Lakers defeated Toronto on Friday to remain the No. 9 seed, tied in the loss column with the No. 8 Wolves and just one loss back of the 5-8 seeds. They are still very much in the race to perhaps even rise above the play-in line as they wait for LeBron James to return. 

  • Projected seed:¬†9
  • Current first-round matchup: vs. Jazz (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. Clippers: Clippers clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Lakers lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Jazz lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland:¬†Blazers currently own via conference win percentage

10. Utah Jazz (33-35)

Utah jumps back into the play-in picture by way of its win over the Hornets and New Orleans’ loss to OKC on Saturday.¬†

  • Projected seed:¬†Lottery
  • Current first-round matchup: at Lakers (Play-in)
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Jazz Clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Jazz lead 2-0 with two to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC:¬†Thunder lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland:¬†Blazers lead 2-1 with one to play

Outside Looking In

11. New Orleans Pelicans (32-35)

The Pelicans fall into the lottery for the time being with their loss to the Thunder on Saturday and Utah’s win over Charlotte.¬†

  • Projected seed:¬†10
  • Tiebreaker vs. Golden State:¬†Pelicans lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Timberwolves:¬† Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Dallas:¬†Mavericks lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Jazz clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Los Angeles leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC:¬†Pelicans clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland:¬†Pelicans lead 2-1 with one to play

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (32-35)

The Thunder are one back in the loss column of the No. 9 Lakers and No. 10 Pelicans. 

  • Projected seed:¬†Lottery
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Pelicans clinched
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†OKC leads 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Tied 1-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Portland:¬†OKC clinched

The Blazers are one loss back of the final play-in spot, currently held by Utah, which Portland plays one more time. 

  • Projected seed:¬†Lottery
  • Tiebreaker vs. Utah:¬†Blazers lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. Lakers:¬†Blazers currently own via conference win percentage
  • Tiebreaker vs. New Orleans:¬†Pelicans lead 2-1 with one to play
  • Tiebreaker vs. OKC:¬†Thunder clinched

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Publish Date:2023-03-12 13:50:03

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